GOP congressman: 'I'm a person of color. I'm white.'

Dylan Stableford
Senior Writer

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., explained his vote against Tuesday's House resolution condemning President Trump's tweet that suggested four Democratic congresswomen of color “go back” to their home countries by saying he is “a person of color.”

“You know, they talk about people of color,” Kelly told a Vice News reporter before the vote. “I’m a person of color. I’m white. I’m an Anglo Saxon. People say things all the time, but I don’t get offended.”

All 235 House Democrats voted in favor of the resolution that decried the president's tweet as "racist," while all but four Republicans in the chamber voted against the measure.

The term “people of color” has historically referred to nonwhite racial and ethnic minorities.

“He does not offend me,” Kelly said of Trump. “Are some people offended? I’m sure. But there’s people offended no matter what he says. If he says ‘good morning,’ they’re unhappy about it.”

Kelly, a 71-year-old Pittsburgh native who has been a U.S. representative since 2011, said he’s been told to go back to his home country too.

“With a name like Mike Kelly you can’t be from any place else but Ireland,” he said.

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., says he's a person of color. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In a statement Wednesday, Kelly suggested his conversation with the Vice News reporter was “mischaracterized” and missed his “broader point.”

“We’re all created equal,” the statement said. “It’s time to stop fixating on our differences and focus on what unites us.”

The latest firestorm over Trump’s rhetoric began Sunday, when the president tweeted that the self-proclaimed “Squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — should “go back” to their “broken and crime infested” countries. All are U.S. citizens, and three of the four were born in the United States.

[Yahoo News 360: Fallout from Trump’s attacks on ‘the Squad’]

Republicans were largely silent on addressing Trump’s tweet, with some exceptions.

“President Trump was wrong to suggest that four left-wing congresswomen should go back to where they came from,” Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said in a statement Monday. “Three of the four were born in America and the citizenship of all four is as valid as mine.”

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